cake, raspberries

LAVENDER AND RASPBERRY VICTORIA SPONGE

(c) Matt Russell

Ingredients (serves 8)

For the Lavender Milk

  • 80ml milk
  • 1 tsp edible lavender flowers 

For the Cake

  • 225g salted butter, at room temperature
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 250g self-raising flour

For the buttercream

  • 160g salted butter, at room temperature
  • 440g icing sugar
  • 50ml lavender milk (see above)

To finish

  • 4 tbsp raspberry jam
  • 300g fresh raspberries

Essential equipment

  • 2x20cm/8-inch loose- bottomed sandwich tins, bases greased and lined
  • Pastry brush 

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4.

To make the cake batter, first infuse the milk by pouring it into a small saucepan with the lavender flowers and heating over a low heat for about 10 minutes. Leave to cool completely, then strain into a bowl to remove the flowers.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl using a wooden spoon or electric beaters, or in the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer with paddle attachment if you have one, until paler in colour and lighter in texture. Then add the eggs one at a time, and beat in until you have a smooth mixture. Finally, fold in the flour and 30ml of the lavender milk. 

Divide the mixture between the two prepared sandwich tins. Bake for 2025 minutes, or until nicely golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre of each cake comes out clean. (To ensure an even rise and colour in both cakes, bake them on the same rack, or switch them around after 15 minutes.) Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from the tins and leaving on a wire rack until completely cold.

Meanwhile, make the buttercream. Beat the butter until very soft, then add the icing sugar and mix together. I find it easiest to use a food processor with blade attachment for this, because then you can blitz it and not worry about the icing sugar powder covering you and the kitchen. When the butter is well incorporated into the icing sugar, pour in the 50ml lavender milk and beat to a smooth buttercream.

Take one cake and place it base down on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread with 2 tablespoons of the raspberry jam, and cover with one third of the buttercream – I find it best to dollop it on and then spread it out. Then place the other cake top-down on this (I like the upper surface of the cake to be really flat). Spread the remaining buttercream on top of the cake and down the sides. Arrange the fresh raspberries on top.

Put the remaining raspberry jam (2 tablespoons) in a saucepan with 1 tablespoon of water, place over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Pass through a sieve, then, while the jam is still warm, use it to glaze the raspberries, painting it on with a pastry brush.